NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team knocked off seventh-ranked McNeese State 16-13 Saturday night at Homer Bryce Stadium. The victory, SFA's first over a nationally ranked opponent since 2005 (UC Davis), improved SFA to 4-1 (.800) on the season, and 1-0 in Southland Conference play.
A game that was billed as a showcase between two of the best offenses in the nation, turned out to be a defensive slugfest. While the Lumberjacks surrendered 427 yards of total offense, McNeese State struggled to find the goal line. SFA forced McNeese State into four fumbles, and picked off a pass. Preseason All-American Jabara Williams and senior Cory Barlow led the Lumberjacks with 15 tackles each, while sophomore Devin Ducote added 13.
SFA jumped out to a 14-point first-half lead scoring a touchdown in the first and second quarters. Sophomore quarterback Jeremy Moses guided SFA on a 7-play, 77-yard drive that culminated in a Gralyn Crawford 19-yard reception with 6:31 remaining in the first. SFA was right back on the attack with late in the first. The Lumberjacks mounted a 10-play, 81-yard drive that ended with a one-yard plunge from sophomore quarterback Dalton Williams.
The Cowboys ended a scoreless third quarter when Champlain Babin scored on a five-yard run to cut the lead to 14-6 with 16 seconds remaining in third quarter. SFA regained a bit of the momentum by blocking the extra point.
SFA tacked on their final points of the game after sophomore Drew Nelson pinned McNeese State inside the five-yard line with a 39-yard punt. Two plays later the Cowboys were called for a hold in the end zone which gave SFA a 16-6 advantage. The penalty was one of 10 penalties for 120 yards against the Cowboys.
McNeese State cut the lead to three points, 16-13, when Babin ended an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a 31-yard run for his second touchdown of the game. After forcing SFA to punt, the Cowboys took over at their one-yard line with 4:20 remaining and all three time outs. McNeese State quarterback Derrick Fourroux moved the visitors inside SFA territory, but the Lumberjack defense made one last big play. Junior defensive lineman Kenneth Charles hit Fourroux knocking the ball loose with 50 seconds on the clock. Sophomore Derrick Choice recovered the ball, icing the victory for SFA.
Moses completed 18-of-34 passes for 226 yards and one touchdown. His favorite target on the night was senior Duane Brooks who caught nine passes for 140 yards. Crawford finished the night with three catches for 40 yards and the score. The `Jacks recorded 44 yards on 28 carries led by senior Vincent Pervis' 10 carries for 36 yards. The Lumberjack defense finished the night with four sacks for 20 yards, and 11 tackles for losses. Eleven different SFA players recorded at least an assisted tackle for a loss on the night.